German Basics: Resources For Language Learners

Everything we’ve ever written about German, all in one place.
man and woman learning german basics

Looking for more resources to spice up your German studies? You’ve come to the right place! This is Babbel’s German Basics Resource Hub. It’s a regularly updated place you can find all of our articles about the German language, including everything from basic expressions to tips about pronunciation and grammar to facts and stats about German. 

This guide is organized in a way that lets you get to know the basics before diving into more complex topics. That way, it follows the general path of the language learning process from more simple to a little more involved.

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Whether you’re just getting started on your journey to learn German or you’re well on your way to becoming a master of Deutsch, this hub will be a helpful and handy resource for you on your language journey.

German Basics: Words and Phrases

To get started, you’ll need to know the German basics. Here’s how to talk about some of the introductory conversation topics in German.

The German Alphabet
The German alphabet has 30 letters, but you are more familiar with them than you think.

How To Say Hello
Learn the different ways to say “hello” in the German language. You’ll fit right in regardless of where you are in the country, and you’ll master the meaning of the little two-letter salutatory conundrum “na.”

How To Say Goodbye
With every hallo, there comes a goodbye, so if you plan on initiating conversations in German, it’s best to have some exit strategies in mind.

How To Offer A Warm Welcome In German
No matter where you are in the German-speaking world, who you’re talking to and what time of day it is, this article will teach you the most suitable German greeting for your needs.

How To Insult Someone
German food may not be very spicy, but German insults certainly are.

How To Apologize
Learning to say “sorry” in German isn’t just a matter of rote vocabulary, though. It’s important to be aware of cultural differences too.

How To Compliment Someone
Here’s a primer on spreading good (gut?) vibes in German next time you want to make friends (or make someone’s day).

How To Ask Someone Out
Here’s a cheat sheet for getting that cute person’s digits. (Hint: if you can hold your own in an intellectual conversation, you’re already most of the way there.)

German Vacation Phrases
Make the most of your upcoming trip to Germany by focusing on these German phrases ahead of your flight abroad.

The 20 Most Common Verbs (And How To Use Them)
What are the most important verbs in German, how do you conjugate them and how do you use them? Here’s a handy intro to German verbs.

The 20 Most Common Adjectives
Whether something is alt or neu, groß or klein, learning the most common adjectives in German will help you describe it. We’re here to get you started!

German Conjunctions
How to use the German versions of “and,” “so” and more!

German Pronouns
What kind of pronouns does German have? How and when are they used? This article has the answers to your questions.

How To Use Punctuation Marks
German punctuation is pretty similar to English punctuation, but there are small differences that might trip you up.

General Tips For Beginners Learning German

Every language learner struggles with something. Here are some tips and tricks to make learning German basics easier if you’re just starting out.

5 Very Good, Very Specific Tips To Learn German
Are you ready for some serious tips for learning German? We’ll guide you through some tips to help you get your head around this complicated but majestic language.

8 German Words You Might Struggle To Pronounce
We chose the most difficult German words we could find and asked people learning German to pronounce them. Here’s what happened, with pronunciation tips below.

7 Common Mistakes English Speakers Make In German
Every English speaker makes mistakes when trying to speak German. We’re here to help you learn from those mistakes, avoid the most embarrassing ones and be a better traveler.

8 German Phrases Native Speakers Never Actually Use
Which “German” words do you use that would sound totally strange to any native German speaker?

Tips And Tricks To Learn German For Ultra-Beginners
When you’re an ultra-beginner, learning German can be a little intimidating. We have a few tips that’ll get you on track.

Choosing The Right German Goodbye
There’s a different goodbye for every situation. And unless you enjoy awkward social exchanges, you’ll probably want to get them straight.

Useful German Phrases To Fix And Avoid Mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable in a new language. Knowing these phrases will help it feel like less of a big deal.

Quintessential German Words, Idioms And Expressions

If you want to actually sound like a native German speaker, you’ve got to learn the nuances of the way the language is used by real-life speakers. We’ve got you covered.

10 Useful German Phrases That Germans Actually Use
What are the most useful German phrases you need to know to successfully navigate everyday life? Here are our top 10 most important German sentences you simply need to learn!

9 German Expressions That Will Make You Sound Like A Native
These popular expressions about (new) beginnings, endings and sausages are an unbeatable way to understand the German mindset.

7 Sentences To Impress A German
Welcome to Berlin! All you need to do is survive the city. No problem: Here are seven useful phrases to wow any German.

The 9 Best German Words You Don’t Know
Jiminy Cricket! Balderdash! Humbug! Every language has its share of old-timey words and expressions, and German is no exception. We take a look at some of our favorite vintage German words.

12 German Words That Don’t Mean What You Think They Do
German and English share common roots, but there are tons of false cognates you’ll need to sidestep if you want to avoid embarrassment. Here are 12 of the most amusing (and kinda NSFW) German false friends.

8 Words You Thought Were German, But No One Uses Them In Germany
Which “German” words do you use that would sound totally strange to any native German speaker? Find out the answer, and learn some German grammar along the way.

9 Of The Best Compound German Words And How To Use Them
What do you get if you stick a pig and a dog together? A pigdog, of course. But why is he so intent on stopping you from doing your tax return?

7 German Words We Should Be Using In English
Let’s take a stroll down a list of our favorite German words — funny German words, clever German words, “I wish we had this in English” kind of German words.

16 Useful German Phrases To Keep Handy
Nobody said learning German would be easy, but you can nail all the grammar and somehow still be wrong because that’s just not the way we would say that. Here are 16 phrases that’ll make you sound like a natural.5

German Slang Words From The 2000s That Deserve A Comeback
Teenage slang from the aughts is finally old enough to become cool again. Which words have earned the honor of returning to everyday circulation?

20 Vitally Important Austrian German Words
All German languages are not alike. Here are 20 commonly used words and how to use them in everyday Austrian speech.

9 Weird, Funny German Expressions You Should Know
Let’s dive into the exciting world of gross, disturbing and funny German expressions by looking at nine prime examples.

How To Write A German Resume (And Ace Your Interview, Too)
The good news is that a German resume isn’t too different from an English one.

German Numbers

From telling time to writing the date, there’s no shortage of opportunities to use your German counting skills. Let these articles help you out.

How To Count To 100
You may know 100 German phrases, but learning how to count to 100 in German is a skill that’s easy to overlook.

How To Tell The Time
It’s never the wrong time to learn this important German language skill.

How To Write The Date
German is pretty close to English, as far as writing the date goes. But there’s still enough difference to confuse you when you’re learning.

German Vocabulary Lists

To talk about the world around you in German, you’ll need words, words and more words. Here’s a list of important German basics you’ll want to know.

German Food Vocabulary
What’s the point of a vacation without the food?

German Travel Vocabulary
Transportation can be one of the trickiest things to figure out when you’re in a new country, so make sure to prepare ahead of time!

German Color Vocabulary
Roses are rot, violets are blau; here’s a guide to master German colors right now! Here’s an overview of all the colors in der Regenbogen (the rainbow).

German Weather Vocabulary
Rain, sleet, hail or snow, German weather vocab is good to know!

German Animal Vocabulary
Can you say das Eichhörnchen three times fast?

German Emotions Vocabulary
If you’re happy and you know it, learn how to say so in German!

German Hobby Vocabulary
Whether you spend your free time playing instruments or exercising at the gym, learn how to talk about it in German!

German Body Parts Vocabulary
There are non-clinical uses for this vocabulary too, you know.

German Tech Vocabulary
Using the internet in German can be a great way to learn the language. But before you do any of that, you’ll need some tech-specific vocab.

German Home Vocabulary
It’s very worth it to commit some basic German house vocabulary to memory.

German Family Vocabulary
The nuclear family is a common model in Germany, but it’s definitely not the only one.

German Clothes Vocabulary
Doing some clothes shopping in a new country? You’ll ned to learn how to get dressed in German.

German Filler Words
German filler words aren’t just meaningless husks. They support the flow of speech and offer time to think things over.

German Grammar Tips

German grammar can be notoriously tricky for English speakers. But with enough practice, you can become a master of articles, cases, verbs and everything in between.

Top Tricks For Der, Die And Das: Navigating The German Articles
Confused by the German articles? Unsure whether you should be saying der, die or das? Read on to discover some tips to enhance your German language.

How To Use Separable Verbs In German
Why do Germans chop some verbs in half, and how are you supposed to keep track of the pieces? Welcome to the weird world of German separable verbs.

An Introduction To German Verb Prefixes
In German, verb prefixes can completely change the meaning of the root verb. Here are some tips on how to dissect German verbs into their particles to help you remember what they really mean.

How And When To Use German Modal Verbs
In German, there are six modal verbs: können, müssen, sollen, dürfen, möchten and wollen. Let’s take a look at their conjugation and a few sample sentences.

How To Use The Genitive Case With Proper Names
Our German grammar detective looks into one of the most confusing aspects of the language.

Sie And Du: How To Use Them And Avoid A German Faux Pas
Whether it’s with your in-laws or in the workplace, making the switch from the Sie form of address to Du is an age-old German dilemma.

How To Use The Most Common German Interjections
If you want to make your German sound even more authentic, you might want to learn German interjections.

How To Use The Most Common German Conjunctions
And, or and more are explored in this guide to 20 German conjunctions.

German Movies, Books And Other Media

Check out our recommendations for media resources to supplement your German basics — from movies and TV shows to books to music and podcasts. 

German TV Shows To Stream
Binge-watching television has never been more educational!

German Movies To Watch
Eager to find some enjoyable movies to help you learn German? Our language experts have got you covered.

German Beginner’s Playlist
Listen to German music and learn more about each song’s pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary with our guided playlist.

German Songs To Listen To
Between yesteryear’s polka and today’s techno, there’s great German music you can sing along to when you’re learning the language.

German Spotify Playlists To Listen To
Whether you like modern music or prefer to throw it back to polka, you’ll find something to love on one of these Spotify playlists.

German Books To Read
Supplement your German studies with these German books, chosen by experts to help you learn!

German Podcasts To Stream
Whether you’re just starting out or have been speaking German for years, one of these German podcasts is sure to keep you entertained and informed.

German Twitter Accounts To Follow
Who better to learn from than a curmudgeonly satire version of Angela Merkel?

German Instagram Accounts To Follow
Make your social media usage a bit more informative with these German Instagram accounts.

German YouTubers To Follow
Whether you want to learn about science, watch video games or just get some German tips, there’s a YouTuber out there for you.

German Dictionaries To Use
In the age of instant translation, you may think you can get by with a search engine, but learning which German dictionaries to use — and when — will come in handy.

5 Popular Netflix Shows That’ll Improve Your German
Read on for our five favorite Netflix shows that you can watch now to to improve your German skills.

Here’s Why German Love Songs Are Actually The Best (Seriously)
Surprising as it may sound, German songs are the best when it comes to expressing the emotion of love.

German Puzzles, Quizzes And Other Fun Stuff

Let these puzzles, quizzes and other fun activities offer some levity and lightheartedness to the German basics.

How Much Do You Know About German? Quiz
Find out what you know, and what you don’t know, about the German language by taking this quiz.

Do You Know The Colors In German? Quiz
Can you tell the difference between rot and blau? Take this fun German colors quiz to test your knowledge.

Can You Guess The Animal By Its German Name? Quiz
German animals have pretty funny names. Or rather, Germans have pretty funny names for animals. Test your knowledge of German animal names with this quiz.

Do You Know The Days Of The Week In German? Quiz
You can’t pine for das Wochenende if you don’t know your German weekdays. Take this quiz to see where you stand and determine where you need some more work.

Can You Avoid These Common German Mistakes? Quiz
Let us know if you find the magic formula for knowing when to use der, die and das correctly.

Can You Tell Whether These German Words Are Real Or Fake? Quiz
German has lots of great, specific vocabulary. But don’t believe everything you read.

German Language Facts Crossword Puzzle
How strong is your German know-how when the stakes are raised — or should we say criss-crossed?

How To Host The Perfect German Dinner Party
These are the recipes and phrases you need to host an authentic German meal. Lederhosen optional.

6 Struggles German Learners Understand All Too Well
To be a German learner is to be confronted by increasingly ridiculous compound words that were seemingly designed to troll you.

How To Understand Your German Yoga Teacher
Don’t assume “downward dog” has a direct translation in German.

Miscellaneous German Facts

Curious about German and its varieties, place and positioning around the world? Want to find out some facts and stats about the language? Read the articles below to learn more.

How Many People Speak German, And Where Is It Spoken?
German is one of the most popular languages in the world, and you might be surprised how many countries it’s spoken in.

Top German-Speaking Countries To Visit That Aren’t Germany
Looking to test out your German language skills? Keep things interesting by taking a trip to one of these German-speaking countries.

How Hard Is It To Learn German?
Are you inexplicably drawn to the German accent? Or perhaps curious about what an Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher is? Whatever your motivation, here’s the lowdown on how hard it is to learn German as an English speaker.

Top 5 Reasons To Learn German
Want to finally learn a foreign language, but can’t decide which one? Beyond the obvious benefits that learning any language brings, here are our top 5 reasons to learn German.

Everything You Wanted To Know About German Dialects
If you’re wondering about German dialects — what they are, where they come from and how many there are — we have the answers.

German Dialects: The Swabian Dialect
Swabian German is one of the best-known dialects of the language, and it’s also one of the most complicated.

German Dialects: The Saxon Dialect
The Saxon dialect has a bad reputation in Germany, but what exactly is it? We dig into Saxon, what it sounds like, and why it’s perceived the way it is.

German Dialects: The Franconian Dialect
Franconian doesn’t technically exist. And to show what we mean, we’ll take a look at the many different Franconian dialects and languages.

German Dialects: The Hessian Dialect
The Hessian dialect still exists, but it’s not the same as it used to be.

How The Grimm Brothers Changed German Linguistics (And Fairy Tales)
You probably associate the Brothers Grimm with Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but their contributions to the German language are just as important.

10 Steps To Germanize Yourself
What does it take to be German? The author of Make Me German “adds his mustard” on becoming “germanized.”

The Awful German Language, Revisited
In 1880, Mark Twain wrote the now infamous essay, “The Awful German Language,” an account of his frustrations with the German language. It’s about time we update his marvelous essay to see what has changed in the intervening years.

Do You Know These 5 German Gestures?
Germans are not known for gesturing wildly, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few German gestures out there. Can you guess what they mean?

The German Animal Names Flowchart
Animal names in German can be both funny and bizarre due to their lego-like construction. This flowchart shows why.

How To Name Animals In German
Can you guess what a STINK ANIMAL is? How about a SHIELD TOAD? This video explains the beautiful logic behind how to name animals in German.

52 English Words That Are Actually German
There are a surprising number of English words that are actually German, which actually isn’t surprising given that they’re both Germanic languages.

Why Is Germany Called Deutschland?
Germany’s multifaceted global identity says a lot about the country’s past, as well as the types of roles it played geopolitically throughout its history.

Could Four German Cases Soon Become Three?
Ah, the four German cases — or will it soon be only three? Our grammar detective follows the clues to help you crack this grammatical case.

What’s The Difference Between Standard German And Swiss German?
Here, you’ll learn the difference between High German, Schweizerdeutsch (Swiss German) and Swiss High German.

How Similar Are Austrian German And Standard German?
As writer Karl Kraus once said, “What distinguishes the Germans from the Austrians is their common language.”

7 German Stereotypes We’re Tired of Hearing
Germany, home of bland food, efficient-but-rude people, and a harsh, guttural language — at least if you listen to outdated, tone-deaf stereotypes.

Festive Traditions That Show There’s No Christmas Like German Christmas
You might be surprised by how many Christmas celebrations originated in Germany.

German basics and beyond with Babbel Live

OK, so you’ve spent some time combing through these handy resources for grasping the basics of German. Want to put what you’ve learned into action? Start speaking German today with Babbel Live. With options for newcomers and more advanced learners, you can go beyond the basics and practice your conversation skills with up to six peers in live, online tutoring classes led by an expert teacher.

Planning a move to Germany? Babbel is partnered with Over the Ofek, which helps both people and companies with international employees moving to Germany with the entire relocation process. From getting a visa to registering your children in schools, Over the Ofek can help you adjust to your new home.

Get on your way to mastering German.
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David Doochin

David is a content producer for Babbel USA, where he writes for Babbel Magazine and oversees Babbel's presence on Quora. He’s a native of Nashville and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied linguistics and history. Before Babbel he worked at Quizlet and Atlas Obscura. A geek for grammar and an editorial enthusiast, he speaks Spanish (and dabbles in German, Dutch, Afrikaans and Italian). When he’s not curating his Instagram meme collection, you can find him spending too much money on food and exploring new cities around the world.

David is a content producer for Babbel USA, where he writes for Babbel Magazine and oversees Babbel's presence on Quora. He’s a native of Nashville and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied linguistics and history. Before Babbel he worked at Quizlet and Atlas Obscura. A geek for grammar and an editorial enthusiast, he speaks Spanish (and dabbles in German, Dutch, Afrikaans and Italian). When he’s not curating his Instagram meme collection, you can find him spending too much money on food and exploring new cities around the world.